Gardner  spent about $65,000 more in “bed tax” money than received during 2018, but those revenues and expenses were closer in 2019.
The Transient Guest Tax is money collected by area hotels and distributed back to the city. Gardner then uses the money to finance area organizations, including the Gardner Edgerton Chamber, the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corp., and the Gardner Historical Society. In April 2018, the city council voted to use part of the funding for a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
In 2018 “bed tax” money received was $67,087, and expenditures (without CVB) were $134,275, according to information provided through a Kansas Open Records Request. In 2019, revenues were $111,940 (including $2,500 for CVB startup), and expenses were $109,957. City staff noted that revenues and expenditures for 2019 may vary as the year had not been closed when information was provided. Also, expenditure amounts include encumbrances.
In April 2018, the council voted to use part of the funding for a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The current website lists the CVB under the umbrella of Overland Park and can be located at https://business.gardneredgerton.org/list/member/overland-park-cvb-overland-park-123.htm.
According to the January 2019 contract, the chamber was to receive a total of $150,000 including $35,000 for business services and $115,000 for tourism services, $15,000 of which would be utilized for a recreation event promotion.
At the March 2 meeting, funding for the chamber was approved at $85,000.
In January of 2019, Jason Camis, Chamber president, said he wanted a CVB contract separate from the chamber’s agreement. According to minutes of the meeting, Camis said the funding for 2019 could vary based on the opening of the Hampton Inn and he would work with city staff on a payment schedule. At that time the city/chamber executed an agreement with the chamber for business and tourism services for one year, which ended  Dec. 31, 2019.
In April 2018, Laura Gourley, interim city administrator, presented budget requests from area entities. According to the minutes, Gourley said council had stated a desire to increase funding to the chamber, in the form of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB), to 50 percent of the Transient Guest Tax (TGT) revenue. She said the council had requested increasing the funding for the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corporation (SWJCEDC) to $70,000, increasing funding to the Gardner Historical Museum for improvements, and continuing funding the Small Business Assistance Program. She said the Economic Development Council (EDC) had largely followed these recommendations. She said the CVB would be receiving $150,000, with $15,000 reallocated to the promotion of city events; the SWJCEDC would be receiving $70,000 in 2018, $80,000 in 2019, and $90,000 in 2020; the Gardner Historical Museum would be receiving $20,000 in 2019 and 2020; and the Small Business Assistance Program would continue to be funded.
At that time, she said the CVB would operate in partnership with the City, with the formation committee including the EDC. She said a contract for duties and deliverables of the CVB would be developed before the 2019 disbursement, including coordinating the promotion of events with City staff, obtaining input from the Vintage Aircraft Association and promoting their events, and including the City’s Parks and Recreation Director in the CVB Advisory Committee.
Gourley also stated these numbers were based on projections provided by Hampton Inn and that the city would have to find a way to fund these amounts should there be a shortfall. The council provided consensus for City Attorney Ryan Denk to create contracts with the CVB. Gourley stated this portion of the budget is set by Charter Ordinance and would not be discussed further or changed following this meeting.